#BeautyBasics: Choosing The Right Foundation For Indian Skin Tones


If the foundation is not right, your entire makeup look can go for a six! It’s a series of trials and errors before you find your picture-perfect foundation. It should be closest to your natural skin tone, provide enough coverage to hide acne marks and blemishes and not make you look blotchy. However, before we help you pick a foundation that matches your skin colour, here are a few things to consider before buying one. PS: For better results, clean and moisturise your face. Follow it up by applying a primer that helps your foundation set in and last longer. Also, do not ignore the ears and neck when applying foundation. It shows in pictures!

1. Determining Your Skintone

When choosing a foundation for your skin, it’s important to find one that is closest to your skin colour. The basic categories of skin tones are – dark, tan, medium and fair. If you’re new to makeup, it’s best not to pick up your shade from online websites. You may make a purchase that you will regret in the future. You should visit the makeup stores instead. Get a makeup expert to help you out and don’t settle for anything that does not fit your idea of perfect.

2. Know Your Skin’s Undertone

The entire purpose of owning a foundation is to help create an even-tone finish, and not to the change the colour of the skin. While determining your undertone can be tricky, it’s important to learn a little more about your complexion. Usually, undertones fall into 3 categories. If you have a warm undertone, then your skin will have an orange, yellow and golden tone to it. If it’s cool, then your skin will have a blue, pink or red tone to it. And finally, if yours is a neutral undertone, it’s a mix of both – warm and cool. However, it’s uncommon though, because people mainly fall under warm and cool – rarely neutral.

3. Learn To Find A Match


  Never ever try the foundation on your hand and expect it to match your skin tone, you will be in for a big disappointment. First, try it on your hand, then jawline and later neck. Always stand in the natural light while doing this as it will help determine your skin tone better.

4. What Is Foundation Coverage?

Depending on your coverage you’ll have an idea of how much of foundation to use to conceal a certain area. Like undertones, foundations fall into three categories as well – full, medium and sheer coverage. While full coverage aims at concealing acne, scars and marks, it also works better for night occasions. Sheer, on the other hand, is meant for rather clear skin. It’s good for daily use as well.

5. Be Patient

Don’t just buy a foundation on a whim. Apply some foundation near your jawline and wait for 5-10 minutes. You see, foundations tend to change colour when exposed to oxygen. Hence the wait is worth it.

6. The Primer & Foundation Needs To Match


    In order to make sure that your foundation lasts, your foundation and primer need to be of the same formula and texture. Which means if your primer is silicone-based and your foundation is water-based, you’re heading for a disaster. They have to be of the same formula for it to stay put on your face for long hours.

7. Climate Is Everything

Believe it or not but your skin changes with the climate. If it’s it hot outside, your skin is bound to get oily and greasy. You cannot use a water-based foundation during this season as your makeup will melt and your foundation will begin to stain everything from your phone screen to the people you greet! Matte or powder is a good option here. Even foundation sticks that provide medium or sheer coverage should work. If it’s cold outside then choosing a water-based and moisturising foundation is a good choice.

8. Pay Attention To Your Skin Type

Have you ever wondered what your skin type could be? Is it oily, dry, sensitive or flaky? Based on your skin type, you can make a better splurging decision. If you have dry skin, you will have a tough time blending your foundation. Don’t opt for matte foundations, but stick to water-based foundations instead. They’ll keep your skin moist and hydrated all day long. For oily skin, it’s the opposite. Water-based foundations will make your skin greasy and even more oily. Hence, matte is your best bet. For ladies who have combination skin, a mix of both foundation formulas should do the trick.

Here Are Some of The Best Foundations To Keep An Eye Out For  

1. Lakme 9 To 5 Flawless Matte Complexion Foundation


Lakme 9 to 5 range is THE range for good quality products without overspending. The foundation comes in 3 shades that’ll go well with most Indian skin tones. When you want a quick cover up for everyday office, the 9 to 5 range ensures it hides basic flaws and gives you an even tone finish. As the name suggests, it’s long lasting. Price: Rs 550. Buy it here.  

2. Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation


Super blendable, that’s the one word to describe this foundation. It’s oil-free, so absolutely great for summer months. Plus, you require very little of the product to give you a natural radiance. Comes in 6 shades so you’re definitely going to find one that suits your skin tone. Price: Rs 625. Buy it here.

3. Colorbar Perfect Match Foundation


This is an ultra-light foundation that doesn’t add unwanted shine on your face. It’s safe for sensitive skin and, we promise, it won’t make you look cakey or blotchy. The foundation comes in 3 shades. However, we wouldn’t recommend it for major coverage. But, for skin that needs an even finish and glowing effect, buy this! Price: Rs 725. Buy it here.

4. L’Oreal Paris Feather Foundation


Want a gorgeous luminous glow for perfect pictures? This foundation ensures it! It leaves you with a long lasting dewy look which is just what every girl craves. Provides heavy coverage and comes in 7 different shades. That’s heaven! However, for those with dry skin, make sure you moisturize well before putting it on. Price: Rs 1,350. Buy it here.

5. MAC Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 Foundation


A great foundation for those with dry skin since it moisturizes your skin as well. The foundation imparts a sheen to your skin while providing medium coverage. It comes with SPF formula so that’s an added advantage. And guess what, it’s got 18 different shades! Price: Rs 3,000. Buy it here.

6. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF 15


Bobbi Brown works her magic with this super awesome foundation! It’s great for all skin types and gives full coverage without looking cakey or layered. And it leaves your face looking dewy and naturally radiant. It’s our go-to foundation for wedding functions. It comes in 20 different shades so you can choose the one closest to your skin tone. Price: Rs 4,300. Buy it here.

Now That You Know Some Of Our Favourite Foundations, You Might Want To Learn How To Pick One According To Your Skin Type.


1. Oily

If you have really oily skin, you should stay away from liquid foundation. These foundation sticks are great if you want to make the application a smooth and easy process. They offer medium coverage and are creamy in texture. Try: Maybelline New York Fit Me Shine Free Stick Foundation (Rs 413)

2. Combination

Those with combination skin have the freedom to play around with different foundation textures. Only make sure that the foundation applied on the bridge of the nose and forehead should be matte. Try: Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation(Rs 2,990)

3. Sensitive

Sensitive skin is prone to acne, redness and irritation. Hence whichever foundation that you settle for, make sure that it does not contain minerals and fragrances. Considering your skin type, try to apply less product always. Let your skin breathe and only apply foundation when it’s necessary. Try:  Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup (Rs 2,670)

4. Acne-Prone Skin

For acne-prone skin, you’ll need a foundation that provides full coverage. Use a clean brush and sponge to apply the foundation. The one we’ve picked for you has a high-pigment and a lightweight formula. It gives skin a bright, clear finish and does not clog up your pores. Try: L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation (Rs 849)

5. Dry

Light coverage with hydrating properties – that’s the kind of foundation you need if you have dry skin. Pick one that’s water-based and blend it in well so that it sticks to your skin better. Try: Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup Foundation SPF 30 – Shell Beige (Rs 3,600) Another thing to add is that there is a huge difference between the foundations that were available 10 years ago to what we have today. From the limited variety of foundation shades Indian women had to choose from back then, today we’re spoiled for choice. Newer niche brands are born every day and there’s no need to mix and match foundation shades to find a colour that’s closest to your skin tone. Brands like Maybelline, Huda Beauty, Fenty, Bobbi Brown, NYX Professional Cosmetics, MAC, Makeup Forever and Estee Lauder all have a varied list of shades available, making it easier to help you find your perfect match.

Once you’ve chosen your foundation brand and shade, it’s important to keep these tips in mind.

foundation-woman-testing foundation

1. If you can’t find a shade that matches your exact skin tone then buy one that is one shade darker and one that’s lighter. Then mix both shades to get the perfect colour balance. 2. Some brushes that have rounded synthetic hair have a powder brush sticker on them. These are the kind that is perfect for blending your foundation.   3. Over your blush, foundation and bronzer – press a fluffy brush that’s coated with facial spray. It will give your skin and makeup a natural finish. 4. Apply the five dot rule – five dots on your checks, T-zone area and forehead. Then use a brush to blend the product in circular motions. 5. To create natural-looking glowing skin, mix foundation with 2 drops of liquid highlighter and apply it to your face. 6. If you spot dry patches on your skin, you can use scotch tape to remove the dead skin cells from your face. Foundation application post this becomes a smoother process. 7. To create an even canvas on your skin, apply an eyeshadow primer to prevent creasing. 8. When applying your base, always remember that foundation comes first and later concealer. 9. Always remember to apply less foundation first and then later layer it with more if you need it. Removing more product is worse than wiping off a little. 10. If you found a foundation brand that works for you, stick to it. With so many choices to choose from, finding one that matches your shade is the best news ever! Loyalty is the key here.

Mastering the application process will help you achieve that perfect base each time you try. And the first step in the application process is a primer.

Primer First


Those who do not know what a primer is, well, it’s a colourless cream that helps to create a smooth barrier between skin and makeup. It makes the skin’s surface smoother and this helps the foundation stick better on the skin. However, not all primers work with every skin type. Hence, it’s important to find one that not only matches the formula of your foundation but the texture of your skin as well.

1. For Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, then it’s pretty obvious, you need a mattifying primer. This type of primer will not allow your skin to become oily and greasy throughout the day. It also helps to minimize pores and keeps the acne at bay since it contains anti-acne ingredients POPxo Recommends: Lotus Make-Up Ecostay Insta-Smooth Perfecting Primer Mattifying Oil-Free. (Rs 556)

2. For Sensitive Skin

Primers are great for sensitive skin. It adds that extra layer of protection and prevents products from entering your pores and clogging them up. Pick foundations which contain no fragrance, minerals or harsh chemicals to be safe. POPxo Recommends: Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer Mini (Rs 1,170)

3. For Normal Skin

If you have normal skin, you don’t need to deal with blemishes or redness as much, you have a list of primer options to choose from. Rather than investing in a primer that gives off a mattifying effect, try one that causes the skin to illuminate. After all, dewy skin is the trend of the year *Wink* POPxo Recommends: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (Rs 2,900)

4. For Dry Skin

It’s honestly a challenge to find a primer for dry skin. Don’t buy one until you try a sample first. If you’re aiming at getting a dewy finish, make sure that you settle for something that’s not shiny or shimmery. A creamy and hydrating primer is what you need in your life. POPxo Recommends: NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer (Rs 1,020)

5 For Combination Skin

Finding a primer for your skin is tricky, but not impossible. You’ll need to mix and match primers that share a similar formula or, in some areas of your skin, you can apply a mattifying primer and stick to a moisturising primer in the drier areas of your skin. POPxo Recommends: Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Prime Blur Primer (Rs 488)

Here’s How To Apply A Primer If You’re New To Makeup

1. Cleanse

First things first, cleanse your skin. Wash your skin with a mild face wash. This helps to keep your pores clean from all the bacteria, oil and makeup residue. Pat your skin dry using a towel and move on to the next step.  

2. Moisturise


Just because a primer claims to have moisturising properties, it doesn’t mean it’s enough. Moisturise your skin first. Allow your skin to absorb the product before applying primer.

3. Apply

Apply a pea-sized amount of primer on your face and neck. Start from the centre and later make your way to your eyes, lips, chin and cheekbones. Once the product has dried up, you’re free to use your foundation.

Now For The Foundation Hacks

Tired of your foundation looking cakey ALL the time? Mix a couple of drops of facial oil to solve the problem. It helps to give your skin a dewy and radiant finish.

1. Start From The Centre

To avoid your foundation from looking like a thick mask, start from the centre and later blend the foundation towards your jaw and hairline.

2. Use Your Fingers If You Want

Yes, brushes and sponges are more hygienic, but, did you know, fingers help to press the product into your skin? Rather than it just sitting on the surface of your skin, your fingers help to blend the product better.

3. Downward Strokes ALWAYS

Downward strokes are better than upward ones because the product won’t fill up your pores and won’t cause your facial hair to point out if at all it happens.

Images: Shutterstock